Locals propose using Games’ tent to further business

One week after settling the contentious zoning battle at McLean Lake, council has another tall order on its plate.

One week after settling the contentious zoning battle at McLean Lake, council has another tall order on its plate.

Yukon Yamaha asked council to OK its proposal to build a large-scale tent near the Alaska Highway, just south of Robert Service Way.

If approved, the development could set a precedent allowing other large buildings along the highway.

Yamaha plans to use part of the enormous Atco Place tent, which will be the site of artistic expression and cultural competitions during the upcoming Canada Winter Games.

The company wants to move the tent from its current site on Second Avenue up to the Alaska Highway, and use it as a storage facility for snowmobiles, ATVs and boats.

The spot is currently zoned for compact commercial buildings to serve travellers.

“Development in this area is not meant to compete directly with downtown business and the focus is to minimize commercial sprawl along the Alaska Highway corridor,” according to council documents.

The new structure would stand 16.5-metres high, which exceeds the area’s maximum height restriction by 65 per cent.

The tent’s top would pop up above the treeline, and that may affect views of the landscape from the Alaska Highway.

“The height of this building somewhat concerns me and I suspect the applicant here wants to take advantage of the tent structure at Atco Place,” said mayor Bev Buckway.

If council approves the development, the company would be able to put up a building of the same height in the future.

“The zoning amendment doesn’t specify what kind of building could go up, so if they changed the building form it would also be allowed,” said city planning manager Mike Gau.

“The zoning amendment would also set a precedent in allowing larger buildings to be erected along the Alaska Highway corridor,” according to council documents.

Council will vote on the height extension next week.

Agreement to

communicate

Just months after the Kwanlin Dun First Nation came to city council with concerns about being left out of discussions that would affect its settlement lands near McLean Lake, city reps are proposing a protocol to guide communications between the two governments.

The idea to draft the agreement came up earlier this month, when city staffers met with First Nation reps.

“The desire expressed at that meeting was to foster more of an understanding and a closer working relationship on the political level between the two governments,” said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

Similar protocols could be inked with the other First Nation that shares land in the city, said councillor Dave Stockdale.

“I think something like this should be looked at with Ta’an Kwach’an and CYFN,” he said.

“We should have some kind of protocol so we meet with those people on a regular basis.

“It’s pretty hard to get to the truth sometimes but we might get closer to it if we talk to everyone that’s involved in all the issues that are a concern to the city,” added Stockdale.

Kwanlin Dun opposed council’s recent rezoning of land in the McLean Lake area to allow for a cement batch plant.

The First Nation was not involved in the environmental assessment, or in the discussions leading up to the decision, said chief Mike Smith in a letter read at a council meeting in January.

Council will vote on whether to draft the protocol at next week’s meeting.

Lights on

As champion skiers, skaters and shooters began trickling into the city this week, councillor Stockdale invited Whitehorse to renew its holiday spirit.

Earlier this year, he suggested city residents leave up their decorative holiday lights until March to add to the Games’ festive atmosphere.

“I’ll be turning mine on Wednesday evening as the first athletes arrive,” he told council this week.

“It’s not really a waste of energy,” he quickly added.